June 20, 2016 by Minuteman Trucks
International Truck has launched a company-wide initiative, DriverFirst™, aimed at giving its customers an edge in attracting and retaining qualified drivers through vehicles designed with a strong emphasis on the driver’s perspective.
The DriverFirst product design philosophy builds on International’s long-standing emphasis on customer uptime by sharpening the company’s focus on the driver’s point of view.
“Today, for our customers, uptime means more than having trucks that are built to stay on the road,” said Denny Mooney, senior vice president, Global Product Development. “Given the industry’s chronic driver shortage, it’s also about having enough drivers to operate those trucks. And for us, that means building trucks that will help our customers attract and retain drivers, by reflecting the driver’s point of view in the way they are designed and the technologies and features they offer. Simply put, we want to build trucks that drivers want to drive.”
The DriverFirst initiative was inspired by customers’ and drivers’ input for International’s upcoming renewed product line, gathered from driver clinics, fleet feedback and studies of driver trends. Many customers told the company that due to the driver shortage, they are hard pressed to keep all of their trucks operating. These stories are consistent with quantitative reports from American Trucking Associations and other industry sources that the industry is currently 35,000 to 40,000 drivers short of meeting its needs.
“The key takeaway from our research is that drivers want trucks that are designed to do the job,” Mooney said. “Drivers aren’t looking for something automotive or futuristic for its own sake. They just want something comfortable and functional, with a design that helps them do their job better and more easily.”
The Four Pillars of DriverFirst™
Mooney identified four specific areas where International is pursuing ongoing innovations and driver-centric features, based on its research into driver needs:
- Comfort: Before a driver can be comfortable on the road he/she has to be comfortable in his/her truck. International Truck has put a large focus on ergonomics and making steps towards giving drivers features that meets drivers’needs and wants:
- Low noise vibrations and harshness with N13 engine
- Studies on drivers’ physical needs
- Efficiency: From better fuel economy to intuitive displays, it is important to develop features that help drivers get the job done more efficiently such as:
- Predictive Cruise Control
- Class-leading aerodynamics with the ProStar®
- Productivity: Drivers benefit from automated technologies that save time and money:
- New innovations such as OTA programming
- Remote diagnostics with OnCommand™ Connection
- Safety: Safety is always important so that the vehicle is safe to operate and trusted to perform. As a result, International is bringing drivers more features and innovations that make safety a top priority:
- More safety with RollTek seats
- First to deliver Bendix® Wingman® Fusion® collision mitigation
Though the DriverFirst philosophy was only recently formalized, it reflects a long-standing customer focus that has already yielded a number of International innovations in the marketplace, Mooney said. Some examples include the company’s being first to market with the Bendix® Wingman® Fusion® safety system, which makes drivers’ safety a priority, and International’s own Over-the-Air Programming, which reduces downtime spent in driver maintenance.
The purpose of this new initiative is not just to give customers better trucks, but to deliver trucks that drivers will want to use, with a design that lets them do their job better and easier. DriverFirst™ stands as a signal of the commitment to improving the total driver experience and encouraging drivers to stick around for the long drive.
Click here to read the entire News Release about DriverFirst: International’s New Initiative by International Trucks.